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    NCDV launch hard-hitting ads to combat abuse against women

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    NCDV launch hard-hitting ads to combat abuse against women

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    NCDV has launched a hard-hitting campaign to mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

    ‘The Big Cover Up’ campaign features a series of partially covered-up billboards, partially hidden films and blocked social media channels to raise awareness of domestic violence. The creative is accompanied by text such as, ‘The garage door fell on me,’ ‘It happened at my Thai boxing class’ or ‘I fell over’ to show the excuses people give to hide abuse.

    “What we are exposing is the sheer scale of unreported abuse in England and Wales” says Sharon Bryan, Head of Partnerships at NCDV. “It’s tragic that so many people experiencing domestic abuse don’t feel they can speak out – it means the true scale of the issue is hidden.”

    “We at the NCDV want victims and survivors to know that if they are ready to disclose the abuse they are experiencing we can support them with free protective injunctions.

    “Domestic abuse overwhelmingly concerns male perpetrators abusing women but ruins many men’s lives too. That’s why we are launching this campaign in London at the start of the UN’s 16 days of activism against gender-based violence.”

    Jo Wallace, creative director at Wunderman Thompson, said: “I was shocked and moved to action when I discovered how much abuse goes on without ever being reported. ‘The Big Cover Up’ campaign idea dramatically visualises how the full picture of domestic abuse is literally 80% greater than we’re aware of. It’s ultimately a clever use of media to deliver a hard-hitting message.”

    According to the Government’s own figures, less than one-fifth of women experiencing domestic abuse have reported it to the police *(the latest official Crime Survey of England and Wales for the year ending 2018 puts the figure at just 18%). Among male victims even fewer reported it to the police (*In 2021 Mankind put this figure at just 14.7%).

    Thank you to WPP-agency Wunderman Thompson for their pro-bono work on ‘The Big Cover Up’ campaign.

    NCDV launch hard-hitting ads to combat abuse against women 1

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    By Fiona Bawden, Times Online (8th May 2007)

    “Steve Connor, a student at City Law School, is a man on a mission. Six years ago he was a fairly directionless 27-year-old. Today, as well as taking the Bar Vocational Course, he is chairman of the National Centre for Domestic Violence, a ground-breaking organisation that he dragged into existence after a friend could not get legal help to protect her from an abusive partner.

    Connor’s route to the Bar has been circuitous. In 2001 he returned from a year in Australia (he says that he would not dignify describing it as a gap year), and took a job as a process server in South London. The job (“I just saw it advertised in the paper”) was not quite as dull as it sounds. On one occasion he was threatened with a machete, on another, he was nearly stabbed by a man he had arranged to meet on Clapham Common to serve with a non-molestation order: “He’d seemed really friendly on the phone…”

    The turning point in his life came when a friend, who was being abused by her partner, turned to him for support. Connor went with her to the police. She did not want to press criminal charges so the police suggested that she visit a solicitor to take out a civil injunction. “We must have seen 12 solicitors in a morning. We just went from one to the next to the next to the next. Everyone was very eager to help until we sat down to fill in the forms for the legal aid means test,” he says. The woman, who had a small child, did not qualify for public funding. But, Connor says, her financial situation as it appeared on paper did not bear any relation to her financial situation in reality. “She had a part-time job and she and her partner owned their home. Yet she didn’t have any money. Her boyfriend was very controlling and controlled all the money; he kept the chequebooks and didn’t let her have access to the bank account.”

    The injustice of the situation got under Connor’s skin. “I just couldn’t believe that there was no help available to people who did not qualify for public funds but could not afford to pay.

    I just kept feeling that this must be able to be sorted if only someone would address it.”That “someone” turned out to be him.

    In 2002, thanks entirely to Connor’s doggedness, the London Centre for Domestic Violence was formed. It started out with him and a friend, but is now a national organisation, covering 27 counties, and has helped approximately 10,000 victims last year to take out injunctions against their partners.

    NCDV now has nine full-time staff, 12 permanent volunteers and has trained over 5000 law and other students as McKenzie Friends to accompany unrepresented victims into court. We have also trained over 8000 police officers in civil remedies available regarding domestic violence. The National Centre for Domestic Violence (NCDV) has branches in London, Guildford and Manchester and is on track to have branches in 16 areas within the next two years.

    NCDV specialises exclusively in domestic violence work and could be characterised as a cross between McDonald’s and Claims Direct. The high degree of specialisation means that its processes are streamlined: clients can be seen quickly and the work is done speedily and cheaply. “Sometimes, we will have one of our trained McKenzie Friends at a court doing 10 applications in one day,” Connor says.

    Clients are not charged for the service. NCDV staff take an initial statement: clients who qualify for legal aid are referred to a local firm; those that don’t get free help from the centre itself. It runs on a shoestring, heavily reliant on volunteers and capping staff salaries at £18,000 a year.

    Steve expects to qualify as a barrister this summer and hopes that having a formal legal qualification will give the centre added clout. “We are already acknowledged as experts and consulted at a high level, so I thought it would be helpful if I could back that up by being able to say I’m a barrister,” he says. He is just about to complete a one-year full-time BVC course at the City Law School (formerly the Inns of Court Law School) and, all being well, should be called to the Bar in July. Although Connor sees his long-term future as a barrister, he says that he has no immediate plans to practise. “I want to get NCDV running on a fully national level. Then I may take a step back and have a career at the Bar.”